“That machine from hell”; Word Processing in Sociology

Maarten van Wesel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper / PreprintPreprint


Scholars spend much of their time processing words with the help of a computer. Yet not too long ago, scholars would have typed or even written their lectures and articles by hand, and often a secretary would have (re)typed the final version.

This paper examines the transition from one set of socio-technical relationships to another, focusing on resistance to change and the closure that has led to the current ubiquity of word processors. The article draws on insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS), and on material from email and telephone interviews conducted with older and retired members of university sociology departments in the English-speaking world.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021


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